Variety, parade veterans expected in July 4 procession

Freedom of speech is theme for this year

Posted: Friday, July 01, 2005

Expect a lot of familiar faces, and few surprises, in Monday's Juneau Fourth of July Parade, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. through downtown.

This year's parade, titled "Freedom of Speech," has 78 entries - about average.

The parade committee chose the title to show their support for United States troops in Iraq who are "defending Americans' freedom of speech."

"There's been less entries and there's been more," parade director Gerald Dorsher said. "In any (election) year, we do have more."

"Most of them are repeats," he said. "They're very colorful, and there's a lot of variety."

Holiday weekend events

Saturday, July 2

11:59 p.m. - Only Fools Run at Midnight, Centennial Hall

Sunday, July 3

4-8 p.m. - Soapbox Challenge time trials, St. Ann's Avenue

7 p.m. - Douglas Volunteer Fire Department softball game, Savikko Park

After the game - Watermelon contest, Sandy Beach

8-11:30 p.m. - Pre-fireworks contra dance, Centennial Hall

Monday, July 4

11 a.m.-1 p.m. - Juneau Fourth of July Parade

11 a.m. - Sandcastle Challenge, Sandy Beach. Awards at 3 p.m.

11 a.m. - Hawaiian beef barbecue with chef Kai Augustine, Alaska State Museum

11 a.m.-4 p.m. - Deep Pit Beef BBQ dinner, Douglas Methodist Church

1:30-4 p.m. - Thunder Mountain 4H Pony Rides, field No. 1

2 p.m. - Douglas Fourth of July Parade

2:30 p.m. - Dog Agility Trials, Savikko field No. 3

2:30 p.m. - Field sports, Savikko Park field No. 2

3 p.m. - Soapbox Challenge finals, St. Ann's Avenue

3 p.m. - Two-mile race, Juneau to Douglas, starts at Douglas side of bridge, finishes at Douglas Fire Hall. Register from 2-2:45 on July 4.

3:30 p.m. - Dog frisbee contest, Savikko field No. 3

4 p.m. - Hose race, Douglas Fire Hall

4-9 p.m. - Beach dance, field No. 4, with Elvis impersonator, Boosh Hawg and No Drama

University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor John Pugh is the grand marshal. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at the Department of Labor building on West Eighth Street. It marches down Egan Drive to the traffic circle near the Juneau Public Library, turns left on South Franklin Street, left on Front Street, left on Main Street, right on Egan and ends back at West Eighth Street.

The above streets will close at 10:30 a.m. and any vehicles parked on the route will be impounded. All streets and parking lots within the parade boundary will also be closed to traffic.

The parade route is about three miles long.

"I see the same people and families in the same area every year, and outside of that, we have a lot of miles where people can spread out," Dorsher said. "I don't think there's an advantage of standing any place in particular."

The float crews that want to continue to the Douglas Parade will cross the Douglas Bridge at about 1 p.m. The new roundabout is supposed to be complete on July 4. The floats will proceed to Gastineau Elementary School, on Third Street, where they will lineup for the 2 p.m. parade start.

"We don't know who's going to show up," Douglas Parade committee member Rich Poor said. "There's the Juneau parade, and we try and welcome them all over for the Douglas parade."

Fred and Jirdes Baxter, of Douglas, are the grand marshals. Jirdes is the last-known survivor of the 1925 Nome diphtheria epidemic.

The route stretches from Third and H streets to St. Ann's Avenue and A Street.

Third Street will be shut down at about 1:45 p.m. Northbound traffic will be re-routed to Second Street, and Fourth Street will be open for southbound vehicles. The new Douglas Harbor parking lot is available for parking.

Douglas will host its usual Fourth of July festivities on Monday. For a list, check out the accompanying sidebar or visit Depending on the weather, as many as 5,000 people have shown up.

The second annual Soapbox Challenge has quickly turned into one of the most popular events. Last year there were about 50 entries, and this year there are already 80. Day-of registrants could push the total above 100, said race organizer Robert Jones.

All the cars must be standardized from the Derby Gokit soapbox racer kit, a company out of Canada. The course stretches 300 feet, starting on St. Ann's above the Treadwell Arena and shooting down toward the Montessori School. The cars travel about 8 mph, and it takes from 12 to 14 seconds to complete the hill.

There are three age divisions: 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11. All cars race against the clock. Time trials will be held from 4-8 p.m. Sunday. The fastest 10 to 15 cars in each division will advance to Monday's 3 p.m. finals.

In addition to more cars, this year's race includes an electronic photo-eye timer with a digital clock readout.

Martina Miller conquered the 8-10 division last year, and Kenny Fox won the 5-7 title.

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